New leadership for the German National Committee of The Lutheran World Federation
(LWI) – The German National Committee of The Lutheran World Federation (GNC/LWF) has a new leadership. On 11 December, the Leading Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany, Kristina Kühnbaum-Schmidt, was installed as Chairperson, with Oberkichernrat Michael Martin from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria as Vice-Chair.
As Chairperson, Kühnbaum-Schmidt said she wants to work to maintain and expand the close ties between the German member churches and the LWF. “This also includes bringing the issues of the LWF more strongly into our church relations in Germany.”
She has been the leading bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany since April 2019. At the Thirteenth Assembly, she was elected as LWF Council member and serves as LWF Vice-President for Central Western Europe.
“As LWF Vice-President, I want to contribute our German voice, but also listen to the voices of the other churches in Europe and globally and strengthen our dialogues and solidarity.”
“The LWF can only be alive if it is connected to its member churches. When there is a connection and a mutual flow between the global, regional, and local levels,” said LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr. Anne Burghardt in her greeting to the Assembly.
Addressing Kühnbaum-Schmidt, she said: “You bring together all these levels of experience of church life. Your wealth of experience, theological knowledge and expertise, pastoral openness and warmth, and sensitivity to being different are what the GNC and the LWF need. I am grateful that in you we have a witness of hope who is willing to share it with others.”
Burghardt added that with Michael Martin, the GNC/LWF has a vice-chair whose commitment is well known by the LWF. She commended his experience, compassion and dedication to the church and the Lutheran communion.
Michael Martin heads the Department for Ecumenism and Church Life of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria. At the Thirteenth Assembly, he was elected as an LWF Council member.
The General Secretary also thanked the outgoing Chairperson, Bishop Emeritus Frank Otfried July of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg, for his service. He had upheld and shaped the close connection between the German member churches and the LWF as an LWF Council member, LWF Vice-President and Chair of the GNC/LWF. Burghardt said that for July, his service in the LWF “was a matter of the heart, and that is how we experienced you. In addition to your wisdom, your knowledge and your experience, your warmth and your smile filled the structures with life and hope.”
The GNC/LWF comprises the eleven LWF member churches in Germany. The GNC/LWF represents the global Lutheran communion in Germany, coordinates the contributions of the German member churches to the LWF, and supports the LWF in its theological, missionary, and diaconal work.